Verbascum thapsus

Mullein (botanical name Verbascum thapsus) is a hairy plant. This biennial plant usually grows up to a height of two meters or even taller. This plant produces small yellow hued blooms that appear compactly on an elongated stem which emerges from a big leaves rosette. Although mullein is found growing in a wide variety of environments, it has a preference for properly lit disorganized soils where the plants can emerge immediately after the earth gets light, from seeds that have remained dormant in the soil.

Mullein is a widespread weedy plant that spreads fast and copiously by producing large number of seeds. However, this plant is seldom aggressive or invades other areas insistently, as the seeds of this weed-like plant need open ground for germinating. For majority of agricultural crops, mullein is a minor problem, as this plant is not too competitive species. Moreover, mullein is not able to endure shade cast by taller plants and also cannot survive tilling. Mullein also houses several insects and a number of these pests may prove to be detrimental for several other plants. While it is relatively easy to remove individual plants by hand, it is very difficult to get rid of large populations lastingly.

As mullein possesses excellent astringent and emollient properties, this herb is extensively employed in various herbal remedies. Usually, remedies containing mullein are prescribed for treating coughs as well as associated problems. In addition, this plant is used in remedies that are applied externally for treating skin complaints. Moreover, mullein is also employed for making torches and dyes.

The essential oil extracted from mullein possesses analgesic properties and when used has an anesthetising action on the nerves. Use of this oil does not allow the nerves to sense the pain and this sensation is carried to the brain, which, in turn, offers respite from pains like headache, toothache, sinusitis, cold, and other problems. Unlike the common analgesic pills, use of mullein essential oil does not have any unwanted side effects.

Mullein essential oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and it is effective for healing all types of inflammation related to the nose or the respiratory tract, which may be caused by common cold; even digestive tract inflammations due to excessive consumption of spicy foods and alcoholic beverages; circulatory system inflammation owing to toxins entering the bloodstream; or inflammations owing to other reasons like infections and fever. Precisely speaking, the essential oil of mullein possesses the ability to treat all types of inflammation.

Mullein oil is a very potent remedy for earaches. Just putting three to four drops of this oil (not the essential oil of mullein) in both ears will alleviate ear aches. However, the oil should be at an appropriate temperature - the temperature similar to that of the human body. This is essential as our ears are very sensitive to temperature changes. Applying very cold or too hot oil into the ears may result in vertigo or dizziness. Hence, it is advisable that you use a thermometer to gauge the temperature of the oil before applying it inside your ears. Moreover, the oil should not be allowed to remain in the ears for over three minutes and drained out soon after. Use of mullein oil (not the essential oil) is useful in alleviating even very sharp ear ache. Mullein oil is also helpful in eliminating ear infections, irrespective whether they have been caused by bacteria or fungi. However, it is important to remember that mullein oil should only be used for external ear infections called otitits externa and middle ear infections known as otitis media. It has been seen that ear infections are quite widespread among small children and, therefore, keeping mullein oil at home may often prove to be very useful.

In several conditions, the essential oil of mullein is also useful for alleviating cough in such conditions as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, whooping-cough, pneumonia and tuberculosis. In order to treat these conditions, take a pan of boiling water and add a few drops of this essential oil to it. Inhale the vapour from the boiling water for roughly 10 minutes. Use of mullein essential oil helps to relieve the respiratory tract, remove congestion as well as eliminate phlegm from the airways. In addition, this essential oil also helps to soothe the coughing reflex, since this oil possesses anti-tussive properties.

Mullein essential oil also possesses antiseptic properties. This is responsible for protecting wounds from becoming infected, and therefore doesn't makes them septic or cause tetanus. This oil works to protect the wounds from being infected by getting rid of microbial growth in the affected areas and also by stimulating the white blood cells as well as platelets in the affected area. Therefore, even if the microbes are successful in reaching the wounds, they are eliminated by the white blood cells and platelets.

Apart from the above mentioned health benefits of mullein essential oil, it is also very effective in healing internal as well as external infections. On the inside, this oil heals the infections in the urinary tracts and genitals, excretory system, colon and the kidneys. On the outside, mullein essential oil combats infections inside the ear, nose, on the skin as well as various other parts of our body.

Mullein essential oil also possesses diuretic properties and, hence, the use of this oil augments the frequency as well as amount of urination. This property of the oil is useful in eliminating accumulated water, salts, bile and toxins like uric acid from the body and makes one feel lighter. In addition, increased urination also aids in reducing extra body weight as it helps to get rid of excessive water and fat (in fact, fat comprises 4 percent of our urine) through urine. At the same time, enhanced urination also aids in lowering blood pressure, augment appetite, improve digestion and also put off gas formation in the intestines. Urination also does away with various deposits in the kidneys, thereby keeping these vital organs clean. At the same time, increased urination also reduces the burden on the kidneys.

It is also worth mentioning that mullein essential oil possesses wonderful expectorant properties. Use of this oil helps to release coughs and phlegm that accumulated in the lungs as well as the respiratory tracts, thereby providing relief from coughs, asthma, breathing troubles, bronchitis, heaviness in the heart, congestion of the respiratory tract as well as other problems related to the respiratory tract. Use of this essential oil not only helps to clear catarrh and phlegm deposits, but, at the same time, provides relief to the mucus membrane.

In addition, mullein essential oil also possesses the ability to bring down temperature during fevers by combating the infections responsible for the condition. Even the diuretic attribute of the oil helps greatly in achieving this effect, as elimination of toxic substances as well as waste materials from the body aids in accelerating the recovery process from infections.

Use of mullein essential oil also helps to relax the nerves and brain, in addition to unwinding the muscles as well as the different other systems of our body, thereby providing relief from nervous afflictions, nervous disorders, nervous disturbances, anger, anxiety, stress, depression, muscular cramps and many other problems. As these actions of the oil help to lower the blood pressure, it also lowers the risks of having a heart attack.

People enduring chronic insomnia or severe insomnia related to stress will certainly find the mullein essential oil highly beneficial. Use of this essential oil is able to provide them with their most desired thing - a sound sleep during the night.

General properties

  • analgesic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiseptic
  • disinfectant
  • diuretic
  • expectorant
  • febrifuge
  • relaxant
  • tranquilizing

Blends well with

General uses

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • asthma
  • bronchitis
  • colon infections
  • common cold
  • cough
  • depression
  • earaches
  • fever
  • genitals and the urinary tracts infections
  • headache
  • infections
  • insomnia
  • kidney infections
  • muscular cramps
  • pains
  • pneumonia
  • sinusitis
  • stress
  • toothache
  • tuberculosis
  • whooping-cough


While mullein essential oil offers a number of health benefits, it should always be used with great caution. For instance, women should not use it during pregnancy. Similarly, nursing mothers should also avoid this oil. As of now, scientists are yet to establish any known interaction of this herb as well as the essential oil extracted from it with other substances, including foods and medications.


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